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Why there's an alarming rash of suicides among Dalit students

Why there's an alarming rash of suicides among Dalit students | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

Despite the country’s claims to be a sleek 21st-century meritocracy, the habits of centuries of discrimination and social exclusion are not so easily shaken.

 

India is modernizing at a rapid pace, but some old class problems rooted in the caste system are still visible.  This is part of a large series called "Breaking Caste" with some excellent videos, articles and personal vignettes to humanize the struggles of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy.   


Via Seth Dixon, Samantha Fraser
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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, May 8, 2013 8:34 PM

This was a very sad story to read. It's a shame that many Dalit students feel ostracized at elite Indian institutions, so much so some go as far as to commit suicide. This is a terrible personal loss for the families and neighbors of the students. But it also is unfortunate news for the country as a whole. India's economic and social growth likely depends on moving beyond old views on class and cate.

Cam E's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:20 AM

This is interesting in that it's not some silent discrimination, but an extremely overt one where many of these people are being told to their faces that they will not be allowed to pass. My greatest respect goes out to those who fight the hardest for what they want and they must keep trying to achieve it, but sadly those in a position of power in the society were direct barriers to their progress, causing their hope to be lost and the Dalit students to commit suicide.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 2014 4:38 PM

Even though the caste system was abolished, the habits of discrimination are still incredibly prevalent. Discrimination towards people from rural backgrounds at the country's elite colleges has had such an impact that dozens of students from what would have been lower castes are committing suicide. Professors look down on these students, refusing to offer aid and even changing grades so they fail. The aboriginal students that fail face lifetimes of debt and are worried about disappointing their family, so sometimes they take their own lives instead. 

 

Centuries of the caste system have imprinted itself into the Indian people. Since India has only been free of it for a generation, older people continue to discriminate. 

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The Living Bridge

In North East India just north of Bangladesh is the province of Meghalaya. 

 

This is an astounding video that shows a (literally) natural way that local people have adapted to an incredibly flood-prone environment.  The organic building materials prevent erosion and keep people in contact during times of flood.  The living bridges are truly a sight to behold. 

 

Tags: environment, environment adapt, SouthAsia, water, weather climate, indigenous.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 30, 2014 7:51 PM

The people of North East India have found an amazing response to bridge destruction during the annual monsoons. Instead of building bridges year after year, they turn to a more resilient and natural building medium. By spending generations entwining and weaving roots into a specific growth pattern, living bridges span the rivers. A living bridge takes years to accomplish, and families and villages dedicate their lives to taking care of them. The future of the bridges is dependent on the dedication of the youth. As the world's population increasingly moves to urban areas, the fate of the small villages and their natural traditions could be lost. 

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 7:46 PM

This video is fascinating. not only does it show the ingenuity of man, but also its care for nature. when Monsoon season comes to the province of Meghalaya, the people use the roots, planted years ago, to form a bridge that allows them to travel back and forth over the river that was caused by the monsoon. If only the entire world could see this video and realize that there are many ways to coexist with nature and that if we take care of nature then it will help take care of us.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 2:30 AM

This is truly an amazing video. It shows the old traditions of the country and how close many of the people are to nature. It seems almost like a fantasy with the growing of these multi-generational living bridges. Especially when compared to many western nations who seem t prefer to keep nature to itself and build up human utilized lands.